What Game of Thrones season 6 promises and why Indians love the show
And, just how dead exactly is Jon Snow?
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Even as the heat of summer begins to send tendrils through the country, winter comes once again to Westeros. HBO's mega-hit (now Emmy Award-winning) Game of Thrones returns to TV screens on April 24, and while the network has been teasing fans with images and creepy dead-faces, it released its first trailer earlier today.
The trailer begins on the same note the last season ended: with a glimpse of Jon Snow's questionably dead body. Kit Harrington, the actor who plays the angst-ridden commander of the Night's Watch, has gone on record multiple times over the last year, insisting that his character is quite "dead".
HBO, however, refuses to let fans rest in peace over his demise, and instead have been playing with emotions and hopes time and again, such as in this poster. Indeed, fans have reported seeing Harrington around Belfast (where much of the Wall scenes are filmed) for as long as two weeks of filming, giving rise to speculation over just how dead exactly Jon is.
But that's beside the point here.
Besides Jon, we see most of the other returning characters: Tyrion, Dany, Cersei and Jaime, Sansa, Arya - even a brief glimpse of people we haven't seen in a while (hello there Bran! You've grown up!). There's plenty of quick-cutaways from people who look like they're Doing and Saying Significant Things, including some allusions to "the great game" everyone has seemingly been swept up in, ever since Jaime Lannister did that horrible thing "for love".
In short, Season 6 looks, in its brief appearance, like it will be packed with violence, sex and sweeping, politically astute statements, much as its predecessors were. There are plenty of promising plot lines for the show to follow and now, since it's completely outpaced the books, all fans, book-nerds and show-nerds alike, will be equally unprepared for the winter that's to come.
It's easy enough to see why Game of Thrones has achieved the sort of success it has met in India. Family drama, corrupt politicians, sumptuous clothes and settings, sprinkled with more than enough blood and sex: this is the stuff dreams are made of. Game of Thrones offers something for everyone - the dragons and sorcery that have long ruled fantasy books, forbidden love (incestuous or otherwise) that makes life difficult for all those involved, sudden betrayals and character deaths that keep viewers guessing and unsure of what will come next.
Call it out on its flaws or seeming excessiveness in some departments, the fact remains that Game of Thrones and its characters keep watchers engaged and emotionally involved in a manner that few other shows can claim to do.
The aesthetic of the show has a great deal to do with its success. A consistent nominee and winner in the Creative Arts Emmys, the show's rich costumes, sets and special effects lend it, at times, the aura of a Bhansali movie, the lavishness of King's Landing or the harsh beauty of Meereen and Dorne a visual treat on par with anything from Bajirao Mastani.
Courtly drama has always enjoyed great popularity in India, right from the intrigues and complex characters of the Mahabharata. If anything, Game of Thrones fits right into that tradition, with its fiery queens and warring brothers, conniving counsellors and vengeful, cross-dressing warrior princesses. Something tells me Draupadi and Dany would get along extremely well.
The weeks till April 24 seem incredibly long, but no doubt HBO will continue to dole out little bits of footage, glimpses of scenes and offer a taste of what is to come. No matter what, it would probably be best to go into Westeros with one thing held firmly in mind: Valar Morghulis. Every man must die.